The real question relevant to this thread is how does the presence of a Gas Giant effect the military defense of an inhabited moon relative to the military defense of a planet? Does the predictable eclipse driven night facilitate more raids? Does the gas giants gravity complicate firing solutions of orbital bombardment?
Now, I've not played Reign of Winter but doesn't that one contain...well, book 5 of Reign of Winter? With
Rasputin, World War One and the Tank powered by War Crimes?
For my money I'd say Shattered Star might well be lightest, at least for me? It's a treasure hunt against a series of various evils, lots of dungeon crawling etc. Don't play up the Sorshen dungeon too much and you're pretty good, I think
Sure, if you wanna go around smashing resistance points, maybe. But governing your territory? Watching out for insurgents, dealing with environmental threats, manning customs borders, protecting important sites. Sure, a level 20 party can teleport to the capital from across the planet, as soon as they here that the capital is being besieged or whatever, and they'll kick ass across the city. But a lot of people are gonna die before they can wipe out even a small army
An important strength of numbers that gets overlooked is the ability to hold territory. You can have a team of 6 level 20 bamfs who can lay waste to armies, clear out battle cruisers and punch space whales to death or whatever...but they can still only be in a maximum of 6 places at once. Good luck using them to govern your new territory once they take it. And all your enemy needs do is attack on 7 fronts...
Gas giants in our solar system form past the ice line, but this is not universal! The vast majority of exoplanets we have discovered are what are known as "hot jupiters" which form closer then mercury, but many systems we've discovered in recent years contain gas giants, usually between the size of Neptune and Saturn that exist in the "goldilocks" zone.
Mow, they would be subject to some long day night cycles (which wouldn't be particularly inimical to life especially in starfinder, look at orcs!)Io, for example, has an orbital period of 42 hours, about a quarter of which would be behind Jupiter. So 10 hours of extra dark out of every 2 earth days. And be more geothermally active due to a process called tidal heating, but again that's not necessarily bad. To maintain an atmosphere, a body needs an active rotating core of liquid iron to generate an electromagnetic field that prevents said atmosphere being stripped by solar winds, hence why earth has an atmosphere and Mars doesn't.
Suboptimal options can exist though. Not every class needs to be equally good at every option.
The classes have different niches.
Operatives niches are doing trick attacks with small arms and operative melee, sniping and having more skills then the rest of the party combined.
An operative with a longarm or advanced melee weapon is as competent as an Envoy, Mystic or Technomancer with one. An Exocortex Mechanic, Soldier or Solarian will better at using those weapons cause their class is designed to focus on them.
Operatives can also use Sniper Rifles. They can use any weapons they take proficiency in, actually. They just can't trick attack with those weapons, because Trick Attack exists to boost the damage of operative melee and Small arms. You wanna play an operative with a laser rifle who just shoots? Go for it. Noone will stop you.
The Longarms and Advanced Melee don't need the trick attack damage boost when an operative chooses to use them.
Mostly my beef with the Dataphiles Storyline is the same as my beef with the Exoguardians storyline. We haven't seen any of it since Star Sugar Heartlove! We haven't seen any actual development of the Exoguardians plotline since 1-04! A whole season and we still know nothing about Sangoro's Bulwark!
But, at least Data Breach comes out this month, and Many Minds after that.
I found the random encounter tables great when my players in Hells Rebels would veer off the books and unerringly want to do something weird, so I could throw a random encounter at them in order to distract them for 20-30 minutes while my mind churned through "so I need to populate npc's and encounters for a quest where the players infiltrate the upper class's food stores and poison their grain"
Well, now I have a character concept for my next Wizard. Karl Marx with fireballs... someone finally sold me on a Galt AP.
Well, a Galt module, maybe.
Shattered Star begins with the open knowledge that Runelords exist, that Thassilon was a thing, and that there might be more. It will talk in some places about Runelord Karzoug, in some detail. So your player might have some additional information about Karzoug, and his whole...thing. But probably not the biggest issue. Theres nothing in Rise of the Runelords that will spoil things written for Shattered Star that I can think of.
I still want more setting information. The AP articles in the back are nice, but they tend to be limited to whats appropriate to the AP. Having a bi-monthly Starfinder Campaign Setting would allow us to explore other parts of the setting for those of us who aren't running the AP's. I'm less concerned about new rules elements as I am about not wanting to wait like...another year for a look at the Veskarium
I want quantum saved for a class who actually interacts with quantum effects. I want quantum tunneling powers to pass through barriers. I want damage mitigation through positional uncertainty. I want the...well, all the turn into light stuff the solarian zenith revelations have. (Wave particle duality etc)
I want a capstone called Ultraviolet Catastrophe.
I also want an at will slumber ability as your character tries to explain the maths behind their power set.
Signed, a bitter physics graduate.